Ballon d’Or 2023: The names of the top six contenders for the award

Voting for the 2023 Ballon d'Or will begin after this season's Champions League final concludes.

On June 10, the Champions League final will be held at Turkey's Atatürk Olympic Stadium.

Remember that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema won the Ballon d'Or in 2022, beating out Sadio Mane and Kevin de Bruyne.

However, this year's Ballon d'Or will be extremely competitive due to a large number of top players performing admirably for both club and country over the last 12 months.

Ahead of the Ballon d’Or voting in June, DAILY POST takes a look at the top six contenders for the top individual award this year:

Lionel Messi:
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is the odds-on favourite for what would surely be his eighth and final Ballon d’Or after he won the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It would surely take a ludicrous effort from one of the players below to topple Messi, which must be a tad annoying in a season when Manchester City striker Erling Haaland could still help Pep Guardiola’s side to an actual Treble.

Erling Haaland:
The Manchester City hitman has been breaking all manner of records so far this season. The 22-year-old is a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or. Realistically, the Norwegian will know that he probably needs to win the UEFA Champions League to stand any chance of winning the Ballon d’Or this year. Haaland could win the Champions League this year and still miss out on the award to Messi.

Kevin De Bruyne:
The Manchester City playmaker came third last year in the Ballon d’Or power ranking but had a poor World Cup. At 31, De Bruyne might quite reasonably think that he has been unlucky to be at his peak in the Messi years. He is having a fantastic season for Pep Guardiola’s side this season.

Karim Benzema:
The Real Madrid striker won the Ballon d’Or last year, but realistically, he is unlikely to get the chance again, especially as he was absent from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is apparently intrinsic to the 2023 award.

Kylian Mbappe:
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has finished five times in the top 10 Ballon d’Or power ranking but never even reached the podium. However, that is unlikely to change this year with the Champions League dream gone. He did exceptionally well last year at the FIFA World Cup after leading France to the final, where they lost to Argentina on penalty. Mbappe also won the golden ball for the top scorer award at the tournament.

Vinicius Junior:
The Real Madrid player has been exceptional this season, but the truth is that it is very hard to win the Ballon d’Or as a young footballer.

Speaking with DAILY POST on the subject matter, Abubakar Ibrahim, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) FC head coach, said: “For me, I think Messi deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this year for winning the 2022 World Cup. Even if Haaland or Benzema wins the Champions League this season, it cannot justify the fact that Messi won the World Cup because both players did not participate in the World Cup.

“However, I will put Messi in number one position, while Haaland will come second and Mbappe will be third because he did very well during the World Cup, while Benzema will be in fifth position because he won it [Ballon d’Or] last year. Vinicius will be in fourth position ahead of Benzema because he participated in the World Cup, and he is doing very well for Madrid this season.”

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